The Financial Planning Association of Australia The Financial Planning Association of Australia

Big win for consumers: Financial planners to sign statutory declarations under commonwealth legislation

From today, financial planners and financial advisers have been granted status to sign statutory declarations under commonwealth legislation.

The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) secured recognition of financial planners and financial advisers as additional categories of people who are authorised to witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration, in the new Statutory Declarations Regulations 2018.

The amended regulations have now been legally registered with a commencement date of 18 September 2018.

Including professional financial planners and advisers on the witnessing list will offer clients a cost effective and efficient process for legally verifying important documents. Previously clients had to find an authorised witness, often at additional unnecessary expense and inconvenience.

Commenting on the amendments, Dante De Gori CFP®, CEO of the FPA, said: “This is a big win for consumers and the financial planning profession. Financial planners will join lawyers, medical practitioners and justices of the peace in their capacity to witness a statutory declaration.

“The FPA has been calling for the Government to recognise financial planners in this manner for over a decade as it will enable our members to better service their clients on a daily basis.

“Financial planners help people simplify their finances and set achievable goals, particularly in relations to complex matters such as superannuation, tax planning, debt management, investments and retirement. We are delighted that our profession will be able to act as a trustworthy and authorised witness to the important documentation needed for a financial plan.

“This change follows on from the enshrinement of the terms financial planner/adviser in law. Another sign that the occupation of financial planning is being recognised as a profession,” added Mr De Gori.

The amendments follow the FPA’s input into the review of the Statutory Declarations Regulations 1993, submitted on 10 April 2017.

The updated regulation is available here. The Attorney-General’s Department will be updating the relevant section of its website and addressing frequently asked questions about the new regulations, including updates to the authorised witness list.